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FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace

News/Business. (2012) Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod; Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson. (CC) (Stereo)

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Florida 23, Pennsylvania 19, Obama 16, Virginia 14, Benghazi 8, Ohio 7, Barack Obama 7, Iowa 6, Wisconsin 6, Sandy 5, Rick Beeson 5, Michigan 5, David Axelrod 5, Libya 4, New York 4, Minnesota 4, Chrysler 4, Karl 4, Axelrod 3, China 3,
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  FOX News    FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace    News/Business.  (2012) Obama campaign senior strategist  
   David Axelrod; Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson....  

    November 5, 2012
    2:00 - 2:59am EST  

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palin and former speaker newt gingrich will be here. good night from washington, d.c. >> chris: i'm chris wallace. with just 48 hours until election day, both campaigns have one goal -- get out the vote. president obama and governor romney try to drum up support. but it's really about the ground game. who has been more effective in getting out early voters? who will have the better organization tuesday? we'll talk last-minute strategy with david axelrod, senior adviser for the obama campaign and rick beeson, political director for team romney. then, we will take one last look at the electoral map. how does each side get the 270 votes they need to win?
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we'll ask our sunday panel to survey the battleground states and look for any surprises. and from the storm of a lifetime to one of the tightest presidential races ever, we go on the trail. all right now on "fox news sunday." hello again, this time from fox news election headquarters in new york. and we are back on standard time, so we hope you set your clocks back one hour. well, it's finally here, the last 48 hours of the seemingly endless campaign. for both sides it's all about getting supporters out to vote. we want to talk about ground game tactics with each camp, starting with david axelrod, senior strategist for the obomba campaign in our washington studio. welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> thanks, chris. good to be with you. >> chris: before we get to the campaign, i want to ask you about libya. here is what the president promised and here's what he has
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actually done. >> every piece of information that we get as we got it, we laid it out for the american people. >> chris: and that was the president returning from a campaign trip and know answering a question about benghazi. simple question -- did the president make a calculated decision to run out the clock until the election and not answer questions about libya? >> no. >> chris: so why hasn't he answered a lot of questions about his personal involvement in libya? >> the president, from the beginning, chris, we have talked about this before, of course. the president has said we want to get to the bottom of it. we want to share it with the american people. we want to get it right. and there are a couple of distinguished americans, ambouses bass dorpickerring and admiral mullen, the former head of the joint chiefs of staff who are reviewing the whole matter to get to the bottom of it, not just to find out, you know, where things went wrong, but how
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to fix it. so that, you know, our diplomats and the service people we send overseas are as safe as they can be. they are serving in dangerous places. you can't eliminate risk. but you want to do as much as you can. that's what the president's goal is. >> chris: i understand all of these inter-agency issues and that does take time. but i am going to ask you a straight straight-forward questions about the president's personal involvement that he could answer today. number 1, the u.s. consulate in benghazi was attacked twice before the 9/11 fatal assault. in fact, in august, and repeatedly, security officials there asked for more security, said they felt they were vulnerable and the situation was so dangerous that the british diplomats and the red cross pulled out of benghazi. question: did the president know about that? >> chris, all i can tell you is the president is fully committed to the safety of his diplomats. he knew the ambassador.
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he was deeply invested in his work there. and obviously, any steps that we needed to take, we would have wanted to take. so, you know, i mean, i am not in the white house. i upon not privy to all the discussions. but i can tell you this, this president is one00% committed to the people he sends oversea, personally, to represent this country. he is the one who met those coffins when they came home. so any suggestion that we would not take the necessary steps to protect them making a decision not to take the steps to protect them is just nonsense. >> chris: david, i understand you are in the white house anymore, but you did prepare the president and the vice-president for their debates, where libya came up, in one of the debates, the vice-president said we weren't told about requests for more security. so i am asking again directly, did they know how dangerous the situation in benghazi was beforehand, before the attack?
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and that the security officials in benghazi were asking for more help? >> obviously, benghazi was dangerous. there are many other places in the world that are dangerous where our diplomats serve, where our military serves, where our intelligence people serve. and the question the vice-president was asked, did he know about a specific request for additional security. and the answer to that was no. though requests -- we have 230-plus facilities around the world. those requests go to the security professionals in the state department. and that's what happened in this case. >> chris: second area, on the night of the attack, the president met with top national security advisers and told them to deploy assets to the area. question: why did he decide not to deploy, why not to send the assets in in the seven hours between the first attack and the second attack, in benghazi that night, and the second attack 7
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our hours later, two americans were killd? >> chris, as has been reported and the white house has said, i think there was another piece on this in the paper this morning. the president convened the top military officials that evening and told them to do whatever was necessary. and they took the steps that they thought they took every step they could take. but listen, this is exactly what this review is about because the real question here is, what went wrong? what could have been done better? if we have to make adjustments in the future, what adjustments should we make? that's a solemn responsibility of the president and that's what is going to happen. >> chris: the president cancelled campaigning for three days to deal with hurricane sandy. and he was praised for that. why did he decide to go campaigning in las vegas within hours after four americans were killed in benghazi in a terror attack? >> chris, as i said,
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immediately, when word of the attack came, the president was meeting with his top national security folks. he was talking to them well into the night. he was in touch with them during the day as -- during the next day as well. so there is no question about the fact that he was focused on this. -- why couldn't he -- why did he feel he could go campaigning within hours after a terror attack? >> everything was put in motion that he could put in motion. everything -- every conversation that needed to be had, was being had between him and his top national security officials. >> chris: let's turn to the election. here's the latest real clear politics map, based on an average of recent polls. let's put it up on the screen. it shows states solid or leaning obama all in blue, with 201 electoral votes, states valid or leaning in red with romney, 211 nights and 146 in gray.
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romney is in pennsylvania, where the polls have him down more than 4 points. but his campaign says their electoral map is expanding and he has a real shot there. what say you? >> i say they understand they are in deep trouble. they have tried to expand the map because they know in the states like ohio, where they have to win, no republican has been leaked without carrying the state of ohio, they are behind and not catching up. they will be in florida and virginia, two states that you would assume by now, they would have secured. or they assumed by now they would secure. they understand that the traditional or the battleground states on which we have been focusing are not working out for them. we are even or ahead in all of them. now they are looking for somewhere, desperately looking for somewhere to try to dislodge some votes to win the election. i can tell you that's not going to happen. >> chris: you bet your mustache on the president winning
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pennsylvania. how secure is your mustache today? >> the 96 time we see each other, chris, i guarantee you that mustache will be right where it's today and where it's been 40 years, so you know how serious that bet was. >> chris: the key now is turnout and the obama campaign has talked for years about how strong your ground game is. i want to look at ohio and what the romney camp says is happening in early voting and absentee ballots. let's putting the numbers up on the screen. it's a little complicated. they say, this is the romney camp, says that 557,000 ohio democrats that voted or or gotten an absentee ballot, down 155,000 from four years ago. republicans are up 108,000 from 4 years ago. a swing of 263,000 votes in early balloting, which wipes out
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obam's final victory margin of 262,000 in ohio 4 years ago. what they are saying is if substantially more republicans turn out to vote in ohio on election day, which is what they traditionally do, they are going to win ohio and you are going to lose. >> we will 99 two days who is bluffing and who is not bluffing. the fact is, if you look at every poll in ohio, we have been ahead even or ahead in virtually every one, the latest came out this morning in the columbus dispatch. one thing that is clear, we have a very, very large lead among voters who have voted early. we are going to go into election day with a significant lead. and so, you know, we -- they can spin it any way they want. i am looking at cold, hard data, who is showing up, who is casting ballots and in states like ohio, iowa, nevada, florida, we are doing very, very well. what they are doing is comparing this to 2008 and you and i have
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thish this discussion, i am not suggesting we will win by the same margin of 2008. they are comparing themselves to john mccain with no ground operation in many of these states. so they will do better than mechanic cane did. we may not do as well as we did in 2008, but we are doing well enough to win this race. >> chris: in florida, where president obama is down by more than a point in the polls. and yet, you are advertising by the campaign there, in florida. why not in the state you must win? >> first of all, we feel very competitive in the state of florida. there have been a spate of polls in all of these battleground polls in the last 48 hours, i think we are ahead in 90% of them, including florida. there have been a couple of mixed polls in florida, but we are very pleased with the early voting there. we believe we will go into an election day with a -- with a large lead. we are very competitive in florida and they know it, they
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are spending a lot of time there. if they were comfortable, they wouldn't be spending the time and money they are spending there today. >> chris: david, when will we know who the next president is? do you think it's going to come sooner than expected on tuesday night? or do you think this is something that will stretch into wednesday morning? >> li think that in of these races are very close. and so, it could extend past midnight into the morning. i don't think by this time of the morning, we'll still be wondering who the president is. it's just a matter of tallying the votes. you know, there are fewer exit poll this is year, so i think some folks in your business will be less bullish about making early forecasts. you know, know, we have been fighting for a year and-a-half. we have been working for a year and-a-half for this day. our organization's in these states have been building a year and-a-half. we are willing to wait a couple more hours. >> chris: is there one state, is there one county or precinct
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that you are going to be looking at early to tell you whether it will be a good night or a bad night? >> obviously, you know, we have rolling data from turnout that will tell us things during the day. but when the votes start getting counted, we will have sample precincts. some states everyone knows are very vital, a series of them. ohio, we will be focused on the ohio precincts. i feel very good about virginia. we had a great rally in virginia last night. going to be close. that's one of the earlier reporting states. we will be looking at those. in answer to your earlier question, if some of those start breaking our way, it could be an earlier evening than people anticipated? >> we have less than a minute less. i am asking for a personal answer, not a political answer. you have been with barack obama from the illinois state senate all the way to the oval office. these final two days of his final campaign, how emotional for you?
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>> very. very, chris. i mean, this isn't just a friendship -- a partnership, it's a friendship. i started getting interested in politics when i was five yearsole and john f. kennedy came to my community in new york city. i saw him and i was hooked from that moment. it was an idealism. barack obama has given me my idealism back. i am grateful to him for it. all of us who have been with him for years are gathering on this last trip, it's a very emotional time, a proud time, an emotional time and one with great anticipation because we think tuesday will be a great day. >> chris: david, thank you. thank you, as always for talking with us. we want to you know that our offer still stands in the short time that's left for president obama to come to fox news at least once during this campaign. >> it's a generous offer. i appreciate you extending it. [chuckles] >> chris: all right. i didn't get a yes there. >> i have learned a few things on your show, chris. >> chris: well, i'm sorry about
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that. [chuckles] >> chris: david, thank you. >> okay. good to be with you. >> chris: yes, sir. up next, how the romney campaign plans to win the turnout battle. we will talk with his political director, rick beeson when we come right back.
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>> chris: we are back in the fox news election headquarters in new york. with the polls so close, which side has the better field organization may determine who is president the next four years. the man in charge of turnout for romney is political director, rick beeson, who joins us from the campaign headquarters in boston. welcome to "fox news sunday." >> chris, thanks for having me on. i am trying to advantage what david axelrod will look like next week without his mustache.
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it's fun to think of. >> chris: we will see. let me ask but david axelrod, he says you are desperate in pennsylvania and vulnerable in florida. your reaction? >> well, desperate four years ago, this weekend, president obamma was campaigning in indiana. today, governor romney is campaigning in pennsylvania. i don't think campaigning in states where we haven't won since 1988, 1984 and 1972 are exactly acts of desperation. it looks like the map is starting to expand drastically in our favor. it is nothing we are doing. it's governor romney's message. when you talk about florida. for them to spend more money there is a little bit like barack obama's government -- they want to throw money at a problem and hope it if i cans it. but at the end of the day, governor romney will carry florida by a significant margin. >> chris: let me ask you about the point he made. money is one thing, the candidate's time is the most precious commodity in the
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precious hours. and romney on monday is going to spend time in florida and virginia. shouldn't you have locked up both of those reliably republican states weeks ago? >> well, let's not forget, chris, reliably republican, barack obama won both in 2008. so if you look at the absentee ballot numbers in florida, the democrats in 2008 had a 370,000 vote margin, cut down to 70,000 votes right now. we will win on election day by a significant margin. florida, you want to make sure it's taken care of. i don't know why they are spenning money there. governor romney wants to take another swing. virginia will be a close state. tell come dun to the end. when you look at the early results out of absentee ballots in democrat counties, versus republican, this is the case all over theount country. they are under-performing and we are over-performing, and david axelrod can spin it any way he wants about john mccain, but governor romney's message is
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carrying the day. >> chris: all right. we talked with axelrod about the real clore politics average and the electoral map. here's a list of the key swing states i want to ask you about, you are trailing in wisconsin, trailing in pennsylvania, ojaio and iowa and as you suggest,ure basically tied in what for you just is the must-win of virginia, where the obama campaign has made a late ad buy. we will get to the specific states in just a moment. but i want to ask you about the general point, are you saying that the public polls are wrong? are are you saying that they may be right but you are going to win anyway because your ground game is better and you are going to turn the voters out more effectively than they are? >> the polls are like nailing jello to a tree. they are all over the place. you will see polls be different in each state by each day. but there are two numbers to keep in mine here, chris t. goes across the country. as we go to the specific states, tell matter even more. one, it's independents.
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they are going to decide in all of these states. governor romney consistently leads among independents because they have seen his message for creating 12 million jobs, real recovery, strengthening the middle class. have you an incumbent president, running for this job for four years, since the day he got elected, will have raised and spent $1 billion and he is stuck at 48, 47, 46 in all of those polls. when you are an incumbent well under 50, that's a bad place to be. >> chris: let's look and obviously, this has been your focus so far, early voting, absentee voting and let's take a look at the numbers. this is nationally, at this point, more than half a million fewer democrats have voted than in final early voting in 2008. while more republicans have voted already, early than did in the final voting in four years ago. but the democrats still lead as you can see, by almost 600,000
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votes. axelrod says, look, they won't do as well as they did four years ago and you are doing better than john mccain, but they are still going to beat you. >> well, he can hope and wish all he wants. there is two key points to that. they have been voting their high propensity voters, those are the voters who are going to vote under any circumstances. we have been concentrating on low propensity voters, who don't vote in every election, a sporadic voter. we have done a much, much better job of getting low propensity voters out to vote. on election day, we have the high propensity voters. republicans tend to like to vote on election day. in ohio, we have 371,000 more high propensity republicans than they have democrats. >> chris: let's look at ohio. we showed the early voting numbers that you provided us for ohio to axelrod.
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but i want to take a look at the real clear politics track of polls in ohio. this goes back for months. have you never held a lead there. you got real close, after the first debate. but you have never had a lead, not once and the on, 'bama margin has grown slightly recently. >> well, only one number will matter and that's the one on election day. we are confident that governor romney will prevail. the subpoint, when you look at the public polls, 24 or 25, in 21 of them, governor romney is leading with independents and not by a small margin, but double digits. anyone involved with ohio politics will tell you, the candidate who wins independents in ohio will win the ohio election. we are very confident about the race there. when you see president obama is going to under of perform badly in the southeastern part of the state and the coal counties, with the lima tank factory, when
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vice-president biden said that, you know, the defense department doesn't need any more m1 tanks and the lima tank factory is the only factory in the country that refurbishes those tanks. you will see pockets of dis-affection in ohio cutting into the margins and i feel very good about governor romney's message and our turnout operation. >> chris: your campaign started running an ad in ohio this week, which implies that the jeep is shipping u.s. jobs to china, when they are just expanding their operations to china but they are not shipping u.s. jobs overseas. i want to play a clip of the ad and how president obama responded to it. >> obama took g.m. and chrysler into bankruptcy and sold chrysler to oitallions who are going to build jeeps in china. you don't scare hard-working americans just to scare up some votes. that's not what being president's about.
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>> chris: wasn't that a mistake, especially when g.m. and chrysler both said the ad was misleading and the fact is, chrysler, far from shipping jobs to ohio is expanding operations in toledo? >> well, i found it interesting that the president obam would attack governor romney on that when they put up an ad saying that governor romney has let detroit go bankrupt, when that's a headline from the new york times op-ed. president obama talking about scaring people, when yesterday he's out there saying voting is the best revenge. so this gets back to a president who says you can't talk about big issues, you talk about small things. so rather than talking about a $16 trillion deficit or 12 million jobs or putting america back to work, he is talking about big bird and voting for revenge. that's why you see governor romney opening up leads in minnesota yesterday, pennsylvania has moved into a tie. michigan has moved into a tie.
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all of these states were not target states three weeks ago and it's because of governor romney's message. >> chris: you say that pennsylvania has moved into a tie. according to the real clear politics average, i think it's a 4-point margin for obama? >> last night, there was a poll that came out that was 47-47. again, president obama well under 50 in a state that he should be well over 50. there is a million more democrats in pennsylvania than there are republicans. and it's important to remember that energy is a very important issue in the state of pennsylvania. in 2008, in the democratic primary, hillary clinton beat barack obama by double digits after barack obama was the presumptive nominee for his party. so pennsylvania is very fertile ground for us. >> chris: finally, what will you be looking at early on election night? what states, what counties? is this going to be -- how will you know whether it will be an early night or a long night? and how long do you think it's
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going to take for us to figure out who is the next president? >> there will be a lot of bellwethers. but there is a general under-performing in places where president obama needs to do well and an over-performing in places where governor romney does well. there is an intensity factor on the side of the republicans that is a significant gap. we see it on the ground, when people are knocking on the doors, when people are making phone calls. again, it gets back to the simple fact that governor romney is talking about big things and big change, not about small things. so i think as we start seeing returns coming in from new hampshire, from southeastern pennsylvania, from northern virginia, from cuyahoga count neohio, i think it is going to be clear that there is going to be a widespread repudiation of the obama administration and governor romney and the congressman ryan will be elected the next president and vice-president of the united
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states. >> chris: you say not wait very well. what are you predicting? are you saying we are going to know earlier than we thought? >> i am saying that pennsylvania and michigan and minnesota are not past the 270, as mr. axelrod would like to report, they are past the 300. this will be a big election and governor romney is going to win it. >> chris: you are predicting over 300 electoral votes? >> it is going to be a big win for governor romney. >> chris: thank you. thanks for sitting down with us for your first national tv brew. we will see how the turnout battle goes in the closing hours of the race and whether it turns out as well as you think it's going to. thanks so much. >> thank you very much. >> chris: up next, we will drill down into the electoral map, which states are truly undecided and where are the best chances to discoer an unexpected win. we get the inside scoop when we come right back.
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>> mitt romney... [boos from crowd]. >> no, no, no. don't boo -- vote! vote! voting's the best revenge. >> he told his supporters, voting for revenge. vote for revenge? let me tell you what i would like to tell you, vote for love of country. >> chris: president obama and mitt romney going after each other to the final moment of this long, tough campaign. it's time now for our sunday group. brit hume, fox news political analyst, democrat strategist, joe trippi, karl rove, founder of the republican super pac, american crossroads and jeff zeleny of the new york times. well, we have been working up until now with the real clear politics map.
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we are going to throw that away. let's go to the rove map i. the rove/trippi map. >> chris: but i see it on rove.com. >> i am trying to get him into the 20th century. >> chris: karl, as of last week, you and joe had various states in blue with twenty 221 leaninga and states in red and pink, 206, solid or leaning romney and nine tossup in yellow with 111 electoral votes. any changes as of today? >> there has been no evidence of massive changes. in would argue that mash -- michigan and nevada should be leaning obama before last week. we have a very close election. and it is going to be decided on election night with -- with a bunch of potential surprises. >> chris: you have a white board. >> think about this. on the thirdf november, 2008, president obamma was at or above
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50% in 7 of the 13 battleground states that year. in those same state this is year, on same date, 4 years later, he is 50%, not above, but 50% in just two, wisconsin and nev dismef and wisconsin, he is only at 50% because there is 1 pole, an outliwer an 8-point lead. we have gone from cruise into victory in 2008, to a tight, tight, tight race in 2012. >> chris: lanlast question. what do you make of romney going to pennsylvania today? what do you make of obama with last-minute ad buys in florida and virginia? who's got in wind at the back? who is serious? hois bluffing? >> they are all serious and they are not bluffing. president obama has difficulty in florida and virginia two, states where the real clear politics average goes to romney. and pennsylvania has come into play. and if president obama was
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comfortable with pennsylvania, he wouldn't be putting up television advertising there. and if governor romney thought it was a bluff, he wouldn't be spending time there. they are deadly serious. the race is very much up for grabs. we will have last-minute surprises. i don't know if minnesota, pennsylvania and michigan near play -- but i think they are. >> chris: joe? >> i just don't think michigan and minnesota are. i think -- it doesn't make sense to me that pennsylvania and florida are both in play. in other words, if pennsylvania is really in play, florida should be in the bag for romney. look, i think everything's up for grabs right now. and personally, i think it's a mistake for romney to go to pennsylvania. tell turn up the vote for philadelphia. but i think that virginia and florida are in play and that's stunning for me, that the obama people think they have shots at
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those two states? >> you saw the list of swingitates, about a dozen states. in 9 of 12 obama leads by 1 to 5 points over romney in the real clear politics average. it seems there are three possibilities. 1, the polls are wrong. 2, romney's ground game will beat the difference in the polls or obama's going to win. do you have any feelings about that? >> we are under such an avalanche of polling data like we have never seen, you can construct a quite plausible scenario for any of the three possibilities and possible a couple of other it is. i think there is a trend toward an obama win, toward what karl rove and his team pulled off for bush in 2004. but there is a striking discrepancy between national polls, done by older, more seasoned polling firms and a lot of state poll, a number of which are done by less established
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firms. the national polls have a tie. the state polls, the battleground state polls indicate that president obama is ahead in nearly all of them. it seems striking to there would be this difference. we don't know. but it is sobering if you are a romney supporter to think that he is trailing or -- or just tied in so many of those states. could the polls be wrong in i think they could. whether they will be, that's what we are waiting to find out. >> chris: jeff, you have been traveling the country for weeks, for months. your sense of where the game -- this race stands 48 hours out? >> things are much different in battleground states because of the deluge of advertising for weeks and months. people in ohio and iowa, florida, virginia, have a different sense of the race than people do nationally. the reason that pennsylvania is potentially in play, there hasn't been a lot of advertising, they are
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experiencing the race as everyone else is. but in the battleground states, i was in ohio, wisconsin, iowa, there is a real sense of enthusiasm for the romney campaign. there are not republicans -- i didn't run into one republican voter at rallies or in the street who are not happy about electing mitt romney, as opposed to electing someone to beat president obama. that is a significant change. on the other side, the excitement and enthusiasm is not there as it was four years ago, for president obama. does it matter? he is not going to win by the margins -- if he wins, from the 2008. but one thing at then of the campaign, you sort of -- i talked to a lot of republican advisers in bostoon and elsewhere, the confidence is in the uncertainty what have is going to happen, as opposed to the confidence in their strength of position in a florida or a virginia. they're not sure... what will happen in those states. that's a potential problem for them. >> chris: when you heard, as you
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just did, axelrod and rick beeson make the cases about ground game, early voting, voter intensity, who do you think has the better side? >> the organic intensity, no question is on the side of the romney campaign. the turnout operation -- we'll find out on tuesday. it's hard to measure from the outside. it's why the obama campaign started so early and have been building up so much. so if -- they're as good as they were in '08, they have a better turnout organization. organically, i think it's on the side of the republicans. >> chris: karl, we do have a disparity here, if you look at the real clear politics average, obama is leading to get to 270. did you ever with george w. bush and the election days, go in behind and were able to turn it around through voter intensity or the shear power of your ground game? >> oh, sure.
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absolutely. but it has to be very, very close. we don't know how close some of these are. i think brit made an excellent point. the quality of the state-level polls giquestionable. wall street journal and nbc in ohio had a 6-point lead for obama, but 9 points more democrats than republican, meaning the turnout for democrats would be more enthusiastic than 20 08. national poll, use the average of 10 polls, take all 22 polls as of midnight last night, romney leads in 12, obama leads in 4, tied in 6. romney is at or above 50% in 3 and in the average, 48.2 to 47.5, that's pretty darn close. but you get a sense underneath a strength for romney that might be expressed against an incumbent. an incumbent doesn't get much more than the final poll. >> i think both campaigns, what
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rick beeson said was correct, both campaigns believe they can get to over 300 because their models are so different. one will be right. one will be wrong. >> they say -- if you look at what they think they can turn out in early votes, how that adds up when they can turn out on election day, how many plus ds or rs. >> chris: the percentage will be there. >> what the turnout's going to be. both have different models for how they look at the states. i think beeson is sincere, i think axlerod truly believes he will get 3 hundredch one of them is really, really wrong. and the experts can't tell you that. >>. >> they have a very different view of the role of independents. axlerod glotionzed over. i think joe is right. they have two different world views. >> chris: we have to take a break. but then we will talk about the jobs report and other factors
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>> we have tried our ideas and they worked. we tried their ideas and they don't work. >> if anyone wonders whether good jobs and better take-home pay are out there, i have a clear and unequivocal message for you. that is america is about to come roaring back. >> chris: barack obama and mitt romney with their closing arguments to votessers on the economy and we are back with the panel. we got the final jobs report of the campaign on friday.
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let's take a look at the numbers. it showed the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, 1/10 point up. but the economy created a better than expected 171,000ions. brit, the housing industry is picking up, consumer confidence is at a 4 and-a-half-year high as we go into election day. how is the economy, the prime issue, now cutting in this race? >> it's still in my judgment, cutting against the president, no question about it. i think this jobs report confirms that we have a continuing anemic recovery. it's a drag on him, the biggest drag because it is the biggest issue. it doesn't mean hoe won't win. but i don't think this jobs report gives him any comfort or people any comfort that his ideas, which hoe said in his sound bite, which have been tried, are working. >> chris: jeff, how's the president dealt with the economic issue in a way to kind of defuse it and secondly, how
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do the facts of the economy made it less of a negative for obama than it was earlier in the race? >> i think it is less of a negative than it was earlier. we talked about the national number. the state-by of it state numbers are different. the unemployment rate, for example, in the state of ohio is 7%. people feel better about the economy. i am not sure if a voter in ohio thinks he's in a better place than florida because the unemployment rate is lower, but you do have a sense from the republican governors, in ohio and wisconsin and iowa, the economy is better. that is helping the president in some of these battleground areas. it's worse in nevada. the highest rate of foreclosures and unemployment in any battleground state. in the midwest firewall, the economy is better because of manufacturing and the auto industry and other things. i think that is sort of propping him up here-- the firewall of wisconsin, ohio and iowa.
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the other big story was hurricane sandy, the the way it froze the campaign and allow the the president to look presidential, doing his job. and then there was a powerful political image -- let's put that up. certainly the most powerful political image of the final week, obama walking the jersey shore with republican governor chris christie who praised him effusively. how much did hurricane sandy help the president's prospects this tuesday? and how much did it hurt romney. >> chris. >> the october surprise was actually a surprise. i think it helped the president, initially. but i think whatever small advantage is eroded by the images of people on their television screens. no doubt -- >> you mean the long lines for gas -- >> people without food. people dumpster diving on manhattan. i mean, this is -- these images don't particularly say, confidence and quick response. and -- look, the president is
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out there campaigning as opposed to appearing to be tending to business. but look, minor improvement. i think it's being eroded a little bit. but in a close race, those kind of things have an impact. >> if i could say one thing about the economy, though. remember, people's attitudes about the economy and the individual states, they are not just looking at their state, in ohio, people say they credit kasich, rather than obama for the jobs. people look at the nation's economy, the slow growth. the rate we are going, it will take us 3 more years to get back to the level of employment we had when the recession begone with a 7-year back log of people looking for jobs. people know that. >> chris: your hots? >> i agree with karl, on sandy. i think initially it helped. i don't think the negatives will impact by election day that might accrue because of the things karl was talking about. but i do think, the economy, while it's been a drag, has been
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improving, but you can see it in the president's numbers, his approval rating's going up above 50 in some of the polls. in iowa, they released an iowa poll that showed for the first time, right track, the majority of iowans think the country's on the right track but that's because of an improving economy and that is accruing to the president in a way that would have hurt him 6 weeks ago, it is not hurting him as badly now. i think people think things are improving. >> chris: but nationally, brit, people by a wide margin, like two-thirds of the country thinks-- the country's on the wrong track. >> once again, we have this discrepancy, state level differences from national sentiment. we see it in the polling in the horse race numbers and so forth. we are about to find out whether the state-level sentiments measured with relatively small samples of voters, turn out to be correct.
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i think it's unlikely that, you know, it's hard to imagine, as a political journalist, that all of these many polls are off. but the discrepancy is unmistakeable and puzzling. >> chris: let me go down the line here. i know who i am going to ask for predictions. jeff, your best guess about tuesday night. are we going to know earlier than we think? or is it going to be one of those all-nighters that stretches into wednesday morning? >> i don't think we are necessarily going to know early. a the love ballots in states are long. there are a lot of statewide initiative and judges and things. early voter in florida said thieves intimidated by her ballot because it's so long and sitting on her coffee table at home. she has been procrastinating it. i think that is going to slow things down. >> >> chris: is there a county, precinct, a couple that you will look at early and say, this
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gives me a sense in. >> hamilton county, ohio, cincinnati, where four years ago, obottomma was the first in the in a long time to win hamilton. if he is doing well or win there is, i think he likely wins ohio. that's one place i will be looking for. >> chris: karl, your sense of how long a night it's going to be? and give me a place you are going to be looking? you are going to be with me back there at our space cowboys desk. what you are looking at? >> i will be looking at the early states to see the difference between indiana and virginia, with where the president was four years ago and where he is today. but i think jeff's absolutely right. i am looking not only at hamilton, but also then-- ohio. >> but also, clair mounted, warren, butler, these counties in southwest ojaio and some of the more rural counties in the state and the ex-urban around cleveland and columbus. >> i think ohio will be everything. i think whoever wins ohio will
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win t. i think we will have an indication from hamilton and the other counties karl's talked about that we will be looking at with you that will tell us how it's going. that's one i will be going. >> chris: guess, long night? >> i think obama will win ohio. i think if he does, he's president. >> chris: brit. >> i will be watching virginia, where i live. over the weekend, i was there, if my answering machine could vote, it could be dwies decisive. we have heard from both cam pairngs repeatedly. virginia will be very important. >> chris: see you next week. by then, we hope to know who the president is. don't forget to check out panel plus, where our group picks up with the discussion on our web site. we will post the video before noon eastern time. make sure to follow us on twitter. up next, we go on the trail. [ cheeping ] [ male announcer ] you hear that?
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>> chris: the presidential campaign hit the pause button for a few days this week when hurricane sandy barreled up the east coast. but by week's end, the fury on the shoreline had been replaced by the sound and fury on the trail. >> obviously, everybody is aware
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at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm. >> thanks for being here and helping out, again. >> this is a tough one. >> hello, everybody. >> it's been a great working relationship to make sure that we are doing the jobs that people have asked of us to do. >> we don't need a secretary of business to understand business. we need a president who knows business and i do. and that's why i am going to be able to get this going. >> governor romney's been using all of his talents as a salesman to dress up the very same policies that failed our country so badly. >> mitt romney and i are campaigning on big ideas, on real reforms for a real recovery. >> folks, a president's job is not to sell confusion, it's to plant seeds of confidence.
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>> we have made real progress. but we are here today because we know we have more work to do. >> the door it a brighter future is there. it's open. it's waiting for us. >> we will win this election. we will renew those bonds that tie us together as a people. >> we dream, we aspire, we reach for greater things and we will achieve greater things with new leadership. >> chris: and now this program note. tuesday night, stay tuned to this fox station, starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern. and fox newschannel starting at 6:00 p.m. for complete coverage of the 2012 election. we promise we will stay on the air until we can tell you who won. that's it for today.